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August 7, 2022

The new Trump foreign policy: Russia

After November 8, 2016, the day when Donald Trump’s victory has been established in the U.S. presidential elections, it was outlined, and today is almost finalized, the fact that the whole international system enters into a new era.

This era is totally different from the previous one, not only by its structural changes which the new president will inaugurate in the internal development of the American society, accustomed since decades to a certain systemic philosophy and cadence of stating “Pax Americana” worldwide, therefore of the global American hegemony, but rather by the quick and important impact of these transformation across the whole world. It’s a reality that more and more experts take into account now, and the impact of the changes at the global systemic level that is forecasted is also a demonstration of an impressive caliber of the all-encompassing manner in which systemically reflected “Pax Americana”. U.S. hegemony, in other words, was that extensive, so overwhelmingly exercised and with so important consequences at the global level in so many compartments, that the strategic direction changes in Washington’s policy glimpsed between Donald Trump’s twitters will reflect in such global consequences of large dimensions highlighted by exerts.

In an interview with Japanese media late last year, Nial Ferguson, a famous British historian, author of Henri Kissinger’s monumental biography, wrote that “the revolution” which President D. Trump will perform in the international system is unique, compared to the American presidencies of the Cold War: “The scale of the change is still being underestimated by most people. I think this administration is going to change U.S. foreign policy more than any administration has done in our lifetime.”

At the same time, the British historian states that, compared to the Cold War period, therefore from Harry Truman to Trump, the acting of the elected president will be radically different, since Russia will not be deemed the main geopolitical enemy: “Trump is repudiating the foreign policy of every president since Harry Truman. He is going to challenge fundamental assumptions about U.S. foreign policy, for example, that the U.S. should be primarily concerned with the defense of Western Europe and also East Asian allies against Russian aggression.” Ferguson’s conception is similar to the one shared by several experts, including Gideon Rachman, but the latter places the orientation of the new administration in the larger systemic trend of “easternization”, namely of moving the center of gravity of the world politics from Europe, generally from the Western world to the East, with the exponential economic growth of China in the recent decades.

This group of experts is completely annoyed by Donald Trump’s opinions on Russia, and his statements are deemed to be in contradiction with the traditional American policy. For instance, as for D. Trump’s comment on twitter appreciating that V. Putin is “very smart” by deciding not to answer identically to the act of expulsion from U.S. of 35 diplomates in the end of the last year, British commentator Iain Martin broke out, in his turn: “This just gets more and more weird, like an unbelievable Hollywood thriller. President elect siding with Russian demagogue against America.” This comment, which was reflecting the amazement of numerous experts towards Trump’s thinking was immediately taken by Gideon Rachman with the rhetoric and accusatory question: “The Muscovite candidate?” Very recently (January 7, 2017), the famous American political scientist Francis Fukuyama, observed on twitter, without being trenchantly accusatory, commenting Trump’s statements related to Crimea’s annexation (“smart” move of Putin, said the future occupant of the White House) or relativizing the importance of the Western sanctions against Russia as a result of this act, that: “Trump’s very definite opinions about Russia have to be driven by something we’re not seeing.” Donald Trump was not at all intimidated by the choir of experts who suspect/accuse of an accentuated and unjustified pro-Russia orientation. In a succession of three twitters dated January 7, 2017 (caused by the number of signs allowed by a message), he made his intentions clear: “Having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing. Only ‘stupid’ people, or fools, would think that it is bad! We….. have enough problems around the world without yet another one. When I am President, Russia will respect us far more than they do now and…. both countries will, perhaps, work together to solve some of the many great and pressing problems and issues of the WORLD!”.

To be mentioned that this firm position making of Trump regarding its future relations with Moscow took place in the context in which the accusations of the American intelligence services on the pro-Trump impact of the Russian interference in the presidential elections by the revelations of the e-mail catches (intermediated by Wikileaks) unleashed a major political scandal in the U.S. Only that D. Trump remained impassive to these accusations and he declared that he will resort to a transformation of these intelligence services, once he will take the office, since he considers them to be politicized, therefore unreliable. The American public seems to approve Trump. A survey quoted by Ian Bremmer indicates that from almost 85 thousands votes, only 17 percent approve the American intelligence services, who consider that Russia’s interference in the American elections was beneficial for the new President.

There are also observers who don’t share the opinion according to which Trump will produce a “revolution” in the relationship with Russia. Swedish diplomat Carl Bildt sees a continuity at the White House in the last almost two decades, in the matter of the U.S. orientation to Russia, highlighting on January 7 that: “Donald Trump will be third US President in a row that starts with the intention of resetting relations with Russia. Failure not their fault.” We should remind in this context that Obama himself promoted the “reset” policy in the relationship with Moscow, ended on April, 2010, with a new agreement of reducing strategic weapons and establishing a new global balance of power (Start-3). On the other hand, Joseph Nye, leader of the “Council of Foreign Relations” of U.S., appreciates that Trump has to face a dilemma in the relationship with Russia: “On the one hand, it is important to continue to resist Putin’s game-changing challenge to the post-1945 order that states do not use force to steal territory from their neighbors. It is equally important to prevent Putin from dividing the United States from Europe and weakening NATO.” So it seems that Trump, who follows a traditional political line at the White House in the relationship with Russia, is right, rather than the new President’s opponents, who probably are more irritated by the non-Orthodox manner in which he emphasizes his own intentions in the foreign policy. Noam Chomsky, one of the most important intellectuals, who in his turn has a non-Orthodox style, both in terms of politics and in academic terms, who could observe the mandates of 16 presidents, stated about the new President: “He certainly is off the spectrum. There’s never been anything like him/…/He has no background at all in any political activities. Never held office, been interested in office. He has no known political positions,./…/ He’s basically a showman.

So, which way will guide Donald Trump America’s relationship with Russia? Will it be a new reset, like the one in the 2009-2012 period, which was a failure, as we could see, or a new Yalta, while the previous one, who reached a venerable age, will be adapted to the requirements of the contemporary era? Our bet is counting on a new Yalta, which will have a considerable impact on Europe, first of all on Eastern Europe, including Romania.

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